“With God Life Never Dies”
Easter Message from Rev Prof Michael Mullaney
President of St Patrick’s College Maynooth
Holy Week and Easter celebrate the heart of the Christian faith: God’s victory in the resurrection of Jesus; his victory over darkness, despair, and death. Everything in the liturgies of these days proclaims the core conviction of our faith: that despite appearances to the contrary (1 Cor 1:20–25), God in Christ ultimately wins! God is faithful to his son. He has drawn him out of death; he has raised him up. Christ is alive, and is on the loose! Not only is the Son seated at the right of the Father, but now he dwells in the heart of every person. Easter is the proclamation of our trust that God is truly committed to us, and no matter where life brings us, God is there: “even darkness is not dark to you”, as the Psalmist, prayed (Ps 139:12).
The resurrection, however, is much more than some foundational reality in the past that involved Jesus alone (CCC §646). The resurrection is also a reality in the present that defines the present existence of believers. Gently, quietly, calmly—like the “gardener” who met Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday morning (John 20:15)—he proclaims that God’s power is always at work. Without ceasing, he whispers in us, “with God life never dies!” Even the darkest night must yield to the dawn; even in the desert spaces, flowers break through. While the College and its campus are empty and silent, the grounds are budding with spring growth. They announce that winter has passed. The winter of these virus times will also pass: “Each day in our world, beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. … for the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history, for Jesus did not rise in vain.” (The Joy of the Gospel, n. 276-278). We will again welcome our students, and we will hear anew the sounds of young life on campus; we will see the pathways and cloister bustle once more.
This same power and quiet strength of the resurrection is being witnessed in the heroic service of doctors and nurses, Gardaí, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, volunteers, priests, religious and many others who have grasped “that no one reaches salvation by themselves.” To live Easter is to live out of that power of goodness, kindness, and solidarity, that resilience that cannot be repressed or silenced. As Pope Francis observed last Sunday: “… look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others. … For life is a gift we receive only when we give ourselves away, … As Jesus did for us.” (Pope Francis, Palm Sunday Homily, 2020). This too is resurrection!
This year, St Patrick’s College celebrates 225 years. When Celebrate Maynooth 225 was planned, we had many milestones in the College’s history in view. However, what will mark this 225th year will be the solidarity of staff and students in responding to the challenges that Covid-19 presented. Students and members of faculty rapidly embraced new forms of distance learning and teaching; the administration staff responded quickly to working online from home; and many of our catering, housekeeping and service staff have shown great flexibility to assure essential services. In the face of demanding challenges and difficulties, they all have demonstrated solidarity, generosity, and much more. I’m reminded of the closing lines of Brendan Kennelly’s poem ‘Begin’: “Though we live in a world that dreams of ending that always seems about to give in something that will not acknowledge conclusion insists that we forever begin.” This too is resurrection!
With gratitude, I wish you, those close to you, those precious to you, and those who depend on you, a safe, hopeful, and joy-filled, Easter.
Rev. Prof. Michael Mullaney
Good Friday, 10 April 2020
Song of the Resurrection - R.McDonagh - recorded live from St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Easter 2019